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AP-NORC survey: Prolonged fear of the virus in vaccinated elderly people


Bronwin Russell wears a mask every time she leaves her Illinois She never dreamed of eating out or listening to the band play, but she rarely set foot on the plane. Virginia Oliver Midget rarely wears a mask and finds that he never worries about COVID-19 and is happy with the restaurants and the crowds.

She is vaccinated. Not him.

With signs in a whole different way American According to a new poll from the AP Communications-NORC Public Relations Center, the coronavirus pandemic shows that vaccinated seniors are much more worried about the virus than unvaccinated seniors. Although protected by the shot, he is much more likely to take precautions. ..

More and more unvaccinated seniors are planning trips, accepting group gatherings, and returning to gyms and places of worship, while vaccinated people squat.

“I’m worried. Russell, 58, from Des Plaines, Ill., Is looking for a part-time job while on disability benefits. People who live their lives are in their selfish little bubbles. don’t believe in the facts. “

Opinion polls of people over 50 show 36% are very or very worried that they or their families are infected, as the delta variant of the virus fuels a new wave of infection, starting in June . It’s roughly doubled. This increase is due to vaccination, which may be of particular concern. Only 25% of vaccinated Americans say they are not worried, while 61% of unvaccinated Americans say they are not worried.

This worry is sacrificed. People who worry about COVID-19 are less likely to rate quality of life, mental and emotional health, social activities, and relationships as good or very good.

The dichotomy is both unique and pedestrian. Unvaccinated stands pose the highest risk of infection, but the rejection of the shots shows many are convinced the threat is exaggerated.

Midget, a 73-year-old retired electronics salesman in Norfolk, Virginia, sees the government as a horrific criminal, but he disagrees. He says once again “life is normal” and all he needs is to go on a cruise with his wife because of the need to get the vaccine. This does not convince him.

“I grew up a long time ago. I ate dirt. I drank water from the pipe. I played outside. I don’t live in a cage right now, ”he says.

About two-thirds of people over 50 say they rarely or never feel isolated, but about half of those who worry the most about COVID-19 do, at least in the last month. Say I felt it.

Kathy Paiba, a 70-year-old retired bartender from the Palm Coast, Florida She says she feels the burden of being home a lot.

“My life is more limited than ever,” says Paiva. “I’m afraid to go anywhere now. I want to eat out, but I’m not going to put anyone’s life in danger, especially mine.

Her son died of a heart attack in January. In July, she and her closest best friend, a 67-year-old sister, were both infected with COVID-19. The vaccinated Paiba survived. His sister who was not did not.

About one in four seniors, including about a third of those most worried about COVID-19, say their social life and relationships have deteriorated in the past year.

Surveys show that vaccinated seniors are more likely than unvaccinated adults to avoid large groups, wear masks outside the home, and avoid unnecessary travel. Compared with June, people vaccinated are less likely to travel or visit bars and restaurants in the coming weeks.

Dr Erwin Redrener, public health expert and founding director of the National Disaster Medical Center Columbia university He said unvaccinated people were less afraid of the virus because of their “ignorance of the science”.

“People who have been vaccinated have generally embraced the scientific reality of the risk. They read reports on new mutations and mutations, and read revolutionary stories, ”he said. Noted.

All of this fueled anxiety about the vaccination, said Redrener, exacerbated by the loss of confidence in experts and officials and, more recently, by their advice on the issue of booster shots.

Lee Sharpe, a 54-year-old information technology consultant from Houston, confirmed that his wife knew how to access all of his accounts because he had a serious illness with COVID-19 last year. It was available. But over the years, the force with which the vaccine was extruded made him reluctant to be vaccinated.

“Over time, I lose more and more confidence. Masks do nothing! “” Masks do something! “” I need two masks! “” No, four masks. “I need a disposable mask! “No, fabric masks are okay! He said indignantly.

Lindawells, the principal of a 61-year-old retired high school in San Francisco, says the rebellion is disappointing. She received an injection and a booster, but her doctor told her she was in “a vague area where I don’t know if I am protected” because of the arthritis medication she is taking. paddy field.

She wants to go to the community pool, swim or fly to see her play in Los Angeles, or visit her niece in Arizona. She wants to eat at a restaurant or go shopping quietly. She does not do this for fear of infection.

“I rely on the behavior of others. As you know, I did everything I could. I put on a mask. I have a vaccine. And people don’t do that. It’s ridiculous because it’s so selfish, ”she said. “Persistent prospects prevent them from solving the health crisis. “


The AP-NORC survey of 1,015 people over 50 used a nationally representative sample taken from a probability-based Foresight 50+ panel developed by the University of Chicago NORC, August 20-23. It was carried out during the day. All respondents have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.


You can access Sedensky at msedensky @ ap.org and https://twitter.com/sedensky. Washington Associated Press author Hannah Fingerhat contributed to this report.